International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

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Deep Seabed Mining in the Area: is international investment law relevant?

The last decade has seen a renewed interest in the commercial exploitation of deep seabed minerals located beyond national jurisdiction. However, the respective responsibilities of deep sea miners and of their sponsoring states in this process have not been clarified fully. This short piece argues that international investment law is part of the legal framework applicable to the relationship between the deep sea miner and the state sponsoring it. More specifically, it attempts to demonstrate that deep sea mining operations can constitute a foreign-owned investment within the territory of a host state. Thus, when accepting to sponsor deep sea mining activities, states need to be mindful of the additional disciplines imposed by international investment law.  The seabed beyond national jurisdiction (named as the “Area” by UNCLOS) is known to contain valuable mineral resources including copper, nickel, zinc and rare earth metals which have become particularly valuable because of recent technological innovations. The International Seabed Authority has awarded twenty-nine exploration contracts to a variety of state and private corporate bodies for…

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Delineating the Exclusivity of Flag State Jurisdiction on the High Seas: ITLOS issues its ruling in the M/V “Norstar” Case

On 10 April 2019, the International Tribunal of the Sea (ITLOS) gave its judgment in the long-awaited – though somewhat quietly received – M/V “Norstar” (Panama v Italy) case. The Tribunal ruled (by 15 votes to 7) that by arresting and detaining the Panamanian-flagged vessel, the M/V “Norstar”, Italy had violated Article 87(1) of the…

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The Distinction between Military and Law Enforcement Activities: Comments on Case Concerning the Detention of Three Ukrainian Naval Vessels (Ukraine V. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures Order

International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) issued a provisional measures order to Russian Federation to release three Ukrainian naval vessels and their servicemen on 25 May 2019. In deciding that the Annex VII arbitral tribunal would have prima facie jurisdiction as required under Article 290(5) of United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the…

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Did ITLOS Just Kill the Military Activities Exemption in Article 298?

In a May 25, 2019 interlocutory decision, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) prescribed provisional measures in the case brought by Ukraine against Russia, ordering Russia to release three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 Ukrainian service members seized on November 25, 2018 in an incident in the Kerch Strait. During the incident last…

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Part II: Analysis of Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean

An overview of the Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire judgment is provided in the first part of this post. The purpose of this second part is to highlight issues of practical significance which flow from the judgment. In two important ways, the Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire judgment has demonstrated the functionality of dispute resolution processes under Part XV of…

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